Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 19, 2001

Galveston by Sean Stewart

The discussion of Sean Stewart’s latest novel drew thirteen attendees. Also, two people e-mailed in comments. Galveston is a fantasy novel set in the near future, after another big hurricane has caused great damage to the island off the coast of Texas. The complex and multi-layered plot of this book involves poker, witchcraft, famous Texas families, Mardi Gras, piano-playing ghosts, cannibals, historic mansions, the devil, first aid, and giant shrimp men.

We had a lot of familiarity with this author and topic. Ten people at the meeting had read Galveston, and eight had read prior books by Sean Stewart. Seven of us had visited Galveston and had seen many of the historic sites mentioned in

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Posted by : atcampbell | On : June 5, 2001

The Prophecy Machine by Neal Barrett, Jr.

Twelve people attended the discussion of The Prophecy Machine, a recent novel by Austin writer Neal Barrett Jr. This fantasy novel is set in a world where many of the world’s animal races have been magically evolved into “Newlies”, creatures with human levels of intelligence and a more-or-less human appearance. The book follows a human inventor named Finn and his Newlie lady love Letitia on a vacation that goes horribly wrong. They get stranded on a strange island, which leads them to get involved with a clan of strange men who have a bizarre invention.

We found this book easy to read. All eleven of us who’d started the novel finished it. Barrett’s playful use of language was fun, and we all had favorite sentences and phrases that we repeated. We enjoyed the interplay between Finn and his pet, an ornery robot lizard named Julia. The island society with its two dominant factions (the Hooters and the Hatters) was a clever invention, and we liked the way this concept was worked so strongly into the book. For example, a business named “Bar” accepted only customers from one group, while the other

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